We found out we wouldn’t have a third fight at about 1:30 AM on Saturday. We were upset, but after some back and forth with production, we understood and accepted their reasoning. We weren’t happy about it, but there was nothing do to but keep preparing the second HyperShock. We received an email with the bracket and our matchup at about 2:40 AM. The resulting discussion in our team Discord was “Ranked 13, fighting P1” “so forks for fight one.” Then a bunch of messages about Sawblaze. We’d built up the anti-horizontal HyperShock that day, so if we did fight Hijinx, there wasn’t much to do to further prepare. We were confident P1 would be a cake-walk. We figured if they did somehow get around us, we’d just drive off of them. We rolled in early and were ready to fight well in advance of the start of the session.
Strengths: Our forks work well, our weapon works well, our drive works well. Everything we’ve tested on the robot has worked great. We hadn’t had any component failures and had shrugged off most of the hits we took from Lock Jaw. I’d checked our batteries after each of our fights and we were finishing fights at a more than comfortable level. They weren’t long fights, but it was good to know our semi-bespoke batteries were holding up.
Weaknesses: We haven’t had a long fight. We have no idea what our long-term reliability looks like or how our motors will handle twice the duration of punishment. We also haven’t taken a big hit, not that we’re worried about that specifically for this fight, but learning how the robot recovers after getting tossed would be better to learn in a lower-stakes fight. We also haven’t been upside down yet, which is a possibility in this fight. Their lifter isn’t the right geometry to roll us over, but I’m worried we might ramp off of them the way we did against Hydra in Season 4. Once the robot is in the air, chaos is in control.
Opportunities: I guess if we win this fight the manufactured controversy dies? Or people will just yell “vertical spinner” and it’ll be renewed. This is a pretty low-risk fight for us to crack the top 16, something we haven’t done since the show moved to this format. We’re the high-seed and seemingly the favorite to win, so winning doesn’t net us much prestige beyond finally making the round of 16.
Threats: This fight poses an existential threat to our egos. We haven’t been tested upside down. We know the weapon clears, and we know the CG is such that we can drive around well enough upside down. We don’t know what happens if we try to hit or push upside down. We’re pretty sure we can hit the shelf with our weapon and maybe self-right that way, or climb onto the shelf and self-right by flinging ourselves off. More obviously, we’d be out of the tournament, and that wouldn’t be very fun.
We ran the same config that we ran against Lock Jaw. Forks, double disks, mostly Ti exterior.
Right out of the starting square we have an issue: our weapon won’t spin up. It had just done a full-speed spin in the test box, so I’m already in a mild panic. I reset the throttle and start ramping up slowly. It's cutting out if I make it past about two-thirds throttle, so I leave it just below that. We got one good hit and the weapon kinda stopped. Not the good kind of stop where it transferred all the energy, the bad kind where it just stops. I leave the stick at 60 and it gets back up, but it was time for them HyperShock boys to be at it again! We ramp off the top of P1, twist in the air, and sparks. The weapon kept running while we were upside down. Neat to learn we can climb onto the shelf by ourselves. From there everything is terrible. We can’t self-right, P1 doesn’t want to engage for fear of flipping us back over. We almost got back over a few times, but it just wouldn’t go. With weapon spinning, we should be able to bounce back over, but we can’t get it up to speed. When we do finally flip back over, we dance a little and get one big hit, slightly tweaking P1’s massive wedge. That hit still wasn’t the full power of our weapon, we were still limited by our weird spin-up issues. It started to impair their driving and pushing them into the KillSaws damaged a piece of their side armor, pushing that drive side off the ground. They seemed to recover after the buzzer though. The weapon started to come back intermittently in the last 30 seconds. It seemed like it might go just before we pinned them at the end. I tried to spin it up after the fight, but our ref wasn’t having it, so not post-fight functional for us.
We thought we’d just barely win that JD. We felt scoring all the aggression would carry us and didn’t think their control was that dominant. We didn’t notice their drive was damaged until watching the episode edit. Standing there, we could see the camera crew swinging to P1’s side, so that sealed it a few seconds before Faruq called the decision out.
Strengths: Our forks worked ok, at least they never got stuck, but P1’s wedge and forks were lower, mostly. Our weapon didn’t work well. Drive was fantastic. We took the robot straight to the test box after the fight, everything worked flawlessly. The frustration was palpable. Batteries were fine.
Weaknesses: The long fight wasn’t a problem. The weapon motor was weird from the start and wasn’t worse by the end. Not totally sure why it was like that. We didn’t get hit other than landing on the forks and grinding some wheel rims to death on the wall. The outer wheel rims are basically aesthetic, the inner rim does nearly all of the work. We ramped off them just like we did to Hydra and we lost to chaos.
Opportunities: Time to go get paid in Bounties. Social media is running wild as I write this. I’m not touching any of it for a few days unless I have to.
Threats: Our egos were crushed. We focused on building up the second robot to stay busy for the rest of the day. We also spent some time playing gopher (go for) for Witch Doctor as they waited for Glitch or Mammoth to get ready. Even with bent horns, we drove pretty ok while upside down. We were able to push with some effectiveness too. We did successfully climb on the shelf and the forks weren’t an issue for that. Being eliminated from the tournament isn’t fun. Fortunately, bounties start right away, so there’s not a bunch of downtime to mope.
Test Box footage after the fight (LOUD!)
Back Right Wheel
Front corner, showing forks and front right wheel
Front left corner
Front Left Tire
Back Left Tire
Back view, showing bent horns
Weapon support detail